The New York State Sheriffs’ Association is calling for armed resource officers to be added to all schools throughout New York State, and they’re asking state legislators to set aside the necessary funding for it.
The Sheriffs’ Association is asking the New York State Legislature to include funding in the 2018 state budget for resource officers at every grade school and high school throughout the state. According to the association, there are about 4,750 public schools and nearly 2,000 private schools for students in grades K-12 in New York.
“This will be an expensive undertaking,” said Wayne County Sheriff Barry Virts, President of the New York State Sheriffs’ Association, “but we owe it to our children, and their parents, to provide a safe place for education to take place.”
According to the association, the number of school resource officers has dropped in recent years due to the lack of local funding. The association estimates that the cost to hire a school resource officer is about the same as adding a teacher to the school.
Locally in August 2017, a school resource officer was implemented in the Herkimer Central School District with the district paying for half of her salary and the village of Herkimer paying for the other half. But the Sheriffs’ Association says that’s not always an option for schools and municipalities.
“The only way to assure that every student has the protection of an armed officer in close proximity is for the state to provide a reliable funding stream for SROs,” Sheriff Virts said in the news release. “Many school districts and local governments are unable to do it due to tax caps and limited funding sources.”
The association says each school district and its local law enforcement agency would have to figure out what works best for the district, such as an armed security officer at a single entry point or using retired law enforcement officers as a more economical option to protect students.
Herkimer County Sheriff Christopher Farber serves on the executive committee for the Sheriffs’ Association and Oneida County Sheriff Robert Maciol serves as first vice president.